Compounds that act as natural antifreeze are used for protecting drugs, food and tissues. One common type of cryoprotectant features osmolyte molecules. Researchers have found that larger osmolytes are better at protecting proteins than smaller ones. The results could have major implications for the pharmaceutical industry, which loses product to the freezing process.
A new computer model of blue-green algae can predict which of the organism's genes are central to capturing energy from sunlight and other critical processes.
The robot, a short strand of DNA, follows instructions programmed into a set of fuel molecules determining its destination. For example, it can turn left or right at a junction in a track. Others have created similar DNA bots that move autonomously, but this one relies on a new invention. It gets both its movement energy and routing instructions from the same molecule, the fuel hairpin.
A new technique developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute allows researchers to collect large amounts of biochemical information from a very small amount of bone. Researchers hope the innovation will help combat osteoporosis and possibly usher in a proteomics-based approach to analyzing bone quality.
We’ve long known that some birds and sea turtles sense the Earth’s magnetic field as a tool for navigating through long-distance migrations. New research now shows that the human retina protein, CRY2, has the molecular capability to function as a light-sensitive magnetic sensor, reopening an area of sensory biology for further exploration.
By altering the genetic makeup of normally “unexcitable” cells, Duke University bioengineers have turned them into cells capable of generating and passing electrical current. The researchers achieved this transformation by introducing genes into the cells that form ion channels which are openings, or gates, on the surface of cells.
The new device, the size of a single strand of human hair, generates energy from the metabolism of bacteria on thin gold plates in micro-manufactured channels. The fuel cell recruits necessary bacteria to create a biofilm that utilizes natural organic compounds as fuel to generate power.
Research groups in several countries are making progress in retinal prosthesis development. These inventions range from digital camera-type electrode arrays and photodiode arrays to photoelectric dyes. One of the most recent projects involves the use of a new types of nanotransducer that is based on artificial nanocystalline diamond.
After analyzing the neural learning mechanism in rats, USC biomedical engineers have duplicated it electronically and added it to the rats as a prosthesis. Flip the switch and rats remember. Flip it off, and they forget. Stranger still, the device seemed to strengthen the rats' natural learning process.
Stem cell technologies have been proposed for cell-based diagnostics and regenerative medicine therapies. However, being able to make stem cells efficiently develop into a desired cell type limits the clinical potential of these technologies. New research shows that systematically controlling the local and global environments during stem cell development helps to effectively direct the process of differentiation.
Transmembrane signaling in animal cells has been significantly more studied and observed than that in plant cells. But now, researchers have published new observations about transmembrane signaling in plants and have discovered that it is fundamentally different than the same functions in animals.
In an embryo certain cells help build the heart, but in adulthood they generally go dormant. Scientists in the United Kingdom say they've found these cells in the hearts of mice and that they can make new muscle after a heart attack, raising hopes that doctors can one day help the human heart repair itself.
Antibiotics are among the greatest achievements of medical science. But bacteria are increasingly developing resistance to once-potent drugs. Researchers are scrambling for an alternative, and researchers in Germany say they have found one in a therapeutic equivalent that could replace penicillin and related pharmaceuticals.
Biological circuitry recently made the news when Caltech announced they had produced multiple biological transistors. Now, Univ. of Pennsylvania researchers describe their efforts to form their own electronic circuitry using biological molecules, as well the new microscopy technique they invented to measure the electrical properties of these and other devices.
A potential life-saving treatment for severe E. coli food poisoning outbreaks—developed more than a decade ago—hasn't gone forward into clinical trials because of lack of commercial interest. Univ. of Adelaide researchers produced a "designer" probiotic bacterium which binds and neutralizes the toxin produced by E. coli , which causes life-threatening attack on the kidneys and blood vessels.
From scratch, Caltech researchers have built the most complex biochemical circuit ever created. DNA-based devices, analogous to electronic transistors, were built from molecules in test tubes. The key to making the circuit work was to design the pieces to be as simple as possible.
In many ways, life is like a computer. An organism's genome is the software that tells the cellular and molecular machinery—the hardware—what to do. But instead of electronic circuitry, life relies on biochemical circuitry. Now, researchers at Caltech have built the most complex biochemical circuit ever created from scratch, made with DNA-based devices in a test tube that are analogous to the electronic transistors on a computer chip.
A collaborative research from the UK and Pacific Northwest National Lab have unlocked the first details of the structure of proteins used to transfer oxygen ions. The Shewanella oneidensis uses these ions to live, and sources them from rocks and minerals onto which it grows tiny “wires”. These insights could help researchers immobilize metal contaminants or engineer bio-inspired fuel cells.
Wayne Frasch, a scientist at Arizona State Univ., has undertaken a particularly difficult task. He’s trying to figure out how two molecular machines, the Fo and the F1, work together in a living cell’s lipid membrane. Not only are these motors 10,000 smaller than the width of a piece of paper, they also operate on time scales that until recently have been impossible to measure.
Researchers dealing in synthetic biology are attracted to the field for its deep and potentially important range of possibilities for both health and understanding of genetics. However, it is still a relatively new scientific field plagued with the trial and error. Berkeley Lab scientists and others are now looking toward traditional circuitry, using RNA, to lend order and predictability to complex functions.
In recent years, next-generation DNA sequencers have produced an increasingly detailed picture of how genes are expressed at the molecular level. Researchers at the RIKEN Omics Science Center have recently adapted a new gene expression technique for single molecule sequencing that reduces biases and generates highly reproducible data while using very little RNA.
Scientists from Harvard’s Schepens Eye Research Institute are the first to regenerate large areas of damaged retinas and improve visual function using induced pluripotent stem cells derived from skin.
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute have created a library of microbial efflux pumps that reduce toxicity and boost production of biofuels in engineered strains of microbes. This library and the bioprospecting strategy behind it should serve as valuable new tools for the development of advanced biofuels and other areas of biotechnology as well.
Stem cells have been found in bone marrow and some other parts of the body, but until a recent study that showed positive effects on lungs in mice it hasn't been clear whether such a versatile cell existed in the lung. The discovery suggests that stem cells in the lung can make a wide variety of the organ's tissues.
Though notoriously difficult to make, complex sugar molecules that certain bacteria use to build their protective cell walls have been synthesized by researchers at Japan’s RIKEN Institute. They think the construct could be used to unravel the defensive mechanisms of the bacteria that causes tuberculosis.